Sometimes, exercise can seem like yet another assignment. An obligation, a duty. However, the key to sticking with regular physical activity for physical and mental wellness is finding joy in your moves.
Here are five easy ways to move with joy.
Don’t Grin and Bear it– Grin and Laugh About it
1. Volunteer in community clean-ups.
From city parks and local schools to National Parks and beaches, volunteers move trees, put out mulch, pick up trash, and create new amenities. They move while socializing and serving their communities.
Many towns have garden clubs or groups who maintain some garden beds, too. Plant and mulch away!
2. Attend a dance or join a dance group.
From salsa and contra to clogging and ballet, there’s a variety of dance out there for you. Shimmy, shake, tap, twirl, and laugh your way to fitness.
Have you ever heard of Morris dancing? No? Then you officially haven’t tried everything.
3. Take up drumming.
Really. You might want to offer your neighbors some earplugs, though. The more conventional exercise class just uses the drumsticks, not the drum.
Watch this demo of a beginner cardio drumming class.
4. Go skipping! Perhaps take a break and play frisbee.
Skipping is a vigorous activity, per the CDC. The intensity of frisbee would depend on how much time you spend walking, standing, and running.
5. Try kayaking.
Kayaking engages quite a few muscles but also offers the option of a relaxing ride (in some types of water).
Many state parks, and some larger city or town parks, rent kayaks for reasonable prices. Make sure you stay within the area for the appropriate difficulty level.
Put On Your Shoes: Get Started Building New Habits
While pop culture says you can start a new habits in three weeks, that’s not long enough for most people. You might need two weeks, or even six months.
However long it takes you to establish habits, make a plan. Write it down. Tell someone. And return to your plan to adjust it to fit your life.
Remember your reasons for moving joyfully.
If what you are doing now isn’t working for you, take time to figure out what could help you. Maybe you need moral support; maybe you need to find an activity that fits into your life more effectively (adjusting for pain, mobility, time, preferences, etc.).
Ask for help from a professional, if appropriate. Many health coaches, personal trainers*, and nutritionists work with clients on physical activity. A physical therapist may be appropriate for some people.
Have fun! And share the joy!
*I encourage people to work with certified exercise professionals when they are learning correct exercise form to avoid injury. However, if they are looking for assistance with setting goals, developing behavioral strategies that work for them, and/or moral support, working with a coach or RD may work well.